BATMAN AND SUPERMAN: BATTLE OF THE SUPER SONS Interview With Jonathan Kent Actor Jack Dylan Grazer (Exclusive)

Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Jack Dylan Grazer talks about his role as Jonathan Kent in Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons, revealing why he wanted to join the DCAU and his love of this hero.

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Legacies must rise to unearthly challenges as the children of Batman and Superman are charged with saving their famous fathers - and the world - in Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons.

Warner Bros. Animation's first-ever all-CG animated, feature-length film begins as 11-year-old Jonathan Kent discovers he has superpowers, thrusting the half-Kryptonian into the complicated world of Super Heroes and Super-Villains - who are now under attack by a malevolent alien force known as Starro!

It’s a race against time as Jonathan must join forces with assassin-turned-Boy-Wonder Damian Wayne to rescue their fathers and save the planet by becoming the Super Sons they were destined to be.

Many of you will know Jack Dylan Grazer best for his roles in movies like Shazam!, It, and Luca, but he's now joined the DC Animated Universe as the son of Superman. 

Last week, we got to sit down with the actor to discuss what led to him joining this animated project, the unique experience of working on Battle of the Super Sons, and why this character is one he quickly fell in love with. Grazer also reflects on comic book research, key scenes, what this role taught him about himself, and why he was so impressed with the finished product.

He offers a lot of fun, fascinating insights into working on this project, and you can also find our interviews with co-star Jack Griffo (Damian Wayne/Robin) here and Lois Lane actress Laura Bailey here.
 

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You’re already a big part of the DC Universe thanks to Shazam!, of course, but what was it about this project and Jonathan Kent that made you want to join this DC Animated Universe? 

Well, I think the most compelling thing was hearing the names Batman and Superman in one sentence. Then, that was followed by, ‘Do you want to do this movie?’ to which I responded, ‘Yes, of course!’ It was all my childhood fantasies come to life. I grew up watching the old Justice League TV series with the broad-shouldered Batman, and this is kind of the same style of artwork. It just felt very, very nostalgic and personal. I stepped forth with so much excitement. It was a pretty quick process as we made this movie pretty fast. That was also a shocker, but I’m so happy we did as when I finally got to see it, I was over the moon with how good it is.

Working on a project like this, I know you’re in a recording booth, but how much fun was it, as an actor, to put yourself in Jonathan’s shoes and find that sense of wonder when he steps into the Batcave for the first time? 

I love every different rendition of the Batcave, and I love how this one was like the older Batcave. It’s very gritty and interesting. The animation department really brought to life these scenes and settings that made it so much more interesting. The colours and everything are just so interesting to look at. 

Damian and Jonathan couldn’t be any different, but what about their dynamic - and the friendship that follows - did you find most interesting to explore?

I really loved the development of Damian and Jonathan’s friendship. That’s my favourite part. The reluctance in the beginning from Damian and the eagerness from Jonathan, and by the end of it, they both realise the stakes are so high they could lose their dads and they have to stay committed, persistent, fight, and commence battle. It’s a big leap for kids to take, but these aren’t normal kids; they’re the sons of superheroes, so that’s a great influence. They embrace the pressure and it’s a beautiful thing. There’s something that’s universal about the messages in this movie, at least for me, in that with a lot of young boys, their dad is their hero and the coolest dude on Earth. Whether he’s a garbage man or Superman, he’s your hero and you want to grow up and be like him. As you get older, maybe not so much [Laughs], but these kids…saying that line ‘My dad is Superman’ felt like the ultimate good belly laugh and feeling. It was very gratifying to fulfil this role.

Superman and Jonathan’s relationship is a very important part of this film, and a lot different to Batman and Robin’s. What did you like about delving into that father/son bond? 

I really got a better awareness of that when I watched the movie. When I recorded it, I was just having fun. I never read the script of this movie, by the way. It was neve sent to me, which is the coolest, weirdest way to go about this, but I love it. We recorded all my lines and I didn’t even know I was one of the bigger characters in it because I had nothing to compare it to. I just thought I was recording my bit of dialogue for an hour-and-a-half movie. I didn’t know any other aspects to the story, but watching it and seeing the dichotomy and interactions between Lois and Jonathan or him and Clark…there’s so much humanity there. There’s real normalcy in their lives, but nothing is ever normal. That just brings more authenticity to it. Whether the family is perfect or not, the dad is still Superman!

You’ve done voiceover work before, of course, but what about your experience of this movie did you particularly enjoy or even learn about yourself as an actor?

Firstly, there’s never been a Jonathan Kent. There’s been a Connor Kent in Teen Titans, but never a Jonathan in animation. That’s never happened, so I had nothing to draw on, but I liked that. People were asking me at New York Comic Con, ‘Was it difficult when you had no one to bounce off or take inspiration from?’ No! It’s so much easier that I don’t have any shoes to fill. I can play this as I like and use my own instincts. That feels very, very cool, especially in a movie of this scale and grandeur and personal significance to me.

Jonathan is such a sweet kid, but was there anything, in particular, about the character that really resonated with you? 

I don’t know, to be honest [Laughs]. I don’t think [I brought much of myself to the role]. I just listened to my direction. We had an amazing director on this, Matt Peters. I talked to Jack Griffo and he agreed that working with Matt was a breeze. He put us on a very long leash and gave us free rein to self-express and have fun. That’s what it was. Honestly, I was winging it. I was a little bit nervous, but I did the voice, and that was it! It was a really great experience, but short and sweet and full of…power. 

How familiar were you with the comic books and this character before being cast? Do you find yourself doing a lot of research beforehand or do you not really find it necessary having delved into them for Shazam!? Then again, I don’t think Jonathan and Freddy have ever crossed paths…

No, I don’t think they have! I think they would be good friends if they did. They’d like each other. It would be great to [pull double duty] on a future movie and do two voices. I’d have to change one of them drastically because I feel like they’re pretty similar [Laughs]. I did a lot of research on everything when I did Shazam! just because Freddy knows everything and I wanted to know everything. I didn’t want to just be pulling stuff out of my…whatever [Laughs]. I didn’t want to make things up on the fly, so I did a lot of research and had a lot of this in the back of my mind. I’ve been hardened and steeled by how it’s become part of my normal life and I’ve been a fan of DC my entire life. DC is the craziest thing and when I found out that I got Shazam! and then this, I was literally flawed with awe. I’ve always been a genuine fan of the DCEU, so I’ve read the comics. Batman and Aquaman were my two favourite people in the world when I was a kid, but to answer your question, I did do some research, yes! 

Fans have so often talked about who wins when Batman and Superman square off, and I asked Jack this question yesterday, but when it comes to Robin and Jonathan…how do you see that fight going?

I feel like, and I’m not just saying this to avoid resolution, but I think it would be some kind of draw or an ambiguous thing. They would fight and just be destroyed and be like, ‘Okay, let’s move on from this. Why are we doing this?’ [Laughs]

This is also a great alien invasion story as well as a superhero one. Were you surprised by the scale of this movie or was that one of the big draws for you? 

Oh my goodness, yes! I had no idea what to expect in any capacity. I had no expectations. I also forgot a lot that I said. I forgot what this movie was about, but saw it and was like, ‘This is beautiful!’ I cried a few times almost. It’s hard for me to cry, but there were moments where I was really teary-eyed and moved. It’s really moving. It feels really, really good to be part of a movie that can move me [Laughs]. 

This film makes use of a new CG style, so now you’ve seen the finished product, what about that really surprised or impressed you? 

I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen the sky look so perfect in colour and then have my favourite nostalgic superheroes fly through it. It was absolutely surreal. Trippy, but really cool. I loved it.

You’re still early in your career, but you’ve been in a live-action DC project, this animated one, a huge Pixar movie, a horror franchise…is there anything left on your bucket list you want to do?

Oh yeah, dude, I’m taking Batman on next! I hope. That would be cool [Laughs].

Which of Jonathan’s powers did you find most exciting to bring to life through your performance in the recording booth?

I don’t know…I think probably heat vision was cool. It’s the first power he discovers he has and that felt like the ultimate, perfect explosion that’s been boiling and bottled up for so long before it’s finally released…on his birthday! It was so synchronistic to see it happen that way. It feels good to just have that power released from you and then to think nobody understands you because you’re an alien and weird, and then your dad says, ‘Well, yeah, that’s because you’re Superman’s son.’ That’s super dope!

Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons lands on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital on October 18, 2022.
 

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